After a year overseas it seemed like a good idea to take stock of what has taken place and see if I learned anything. Indeed I have learned a ton this year and so I wanted to spell out three major points that perhaps will help anyone who reads this in the future. Please note that for the sake of clarity I write about some specific incidents below. No names will be used for the sake of privacy but pleased note I am not perfect in any of the below things and will not be any time soon.
Basically what I mean by this is it is so important to talk about things when you are having a problem or issue. If you have a problem with something or someone and no one knows, how is that problem going to be solved? Most people like to sit on their problems and just hope they solve themselves. In my case I just really don’t like awkward confrontation. But at the end of the day it is almost always better to air grievances or issues you might have to the person causing them. Be tactful and respectful but please communicate. It is essential.
I see this played out everywhere I go and last year included. People agree to do something. They generally sign a document or contract saying they will be a willing and happy participant. They arrive appearing like a team player. And then they spend nearly the entire time they are under contract moaning and groaning about how bad the organization or higher-ups are. One thing changes or something doesn’t go their way and they freak out. I am not saying don’t stand up to abuse by your company or organization. I am saying learn how to employ constructive criticism. Don’t go around spreading rumors, communicate with the people you have grievances with. Flexibility will make you a better employee, more pleasant to be around, and will let you stand out from your peers.
3) Godly Self-Worth
This is a subtle one and it is often hard to see where the line is but it is nonetheless important. God calls us to humility, to service, to love. That is fine. But he does not call us to degrade or neglect ourselves because we think others are better than us or we want people to like us more. Do you know anyone who has trouble saying “NO” to things? I know people who are just amazing, godly and fun. But they do not hold themselves in high enough esteem to always take care of themselves. They aren’t serving God out of love or gratitude but fearful compulsion. God loves everyone the same. He doesn’t think some are better than others and he certainly doesn’t need us to prove ourselves to him. So be humble and loving and full of servant-hood, just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
Hope you found these interesting and/or helpful. Let me know if you have any thoughts/additions in the comments section.